The retail apocalypse, beginning in 2010, has claimed over 12,000 physical stores. The term “retail apocalypse” gained its common usage in 2017 after nine retail bankruptcies, some of the best know stores hit were Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle. One of the latest victims of the mass retail death was Toys R Us, in the United States, back in October 2018. The changing climate and outdated practices, such as the change in spending habits, the public’s acceptance of casual fashion, or malls over-expanding, has led to the majority of the closures, however, the biggest contributor has to be the rise of e-commerce. Some stores have remained immune to closures, mainly the superstores, low-cost “fast-fashion”, and dollar stores, typically the stores that have the option to go online and/or have found a very niche market.
The shift in consumer habits from in-store shopping to online shopping could be the final nail in the coffin for retail stores. Sales during the holidays increased by 11% in 2016, but the old-fashioned stores increasing by 1.6% and department stores experiencing an almost 5% decline. The ease of online shopping and the proliferation of online stores the physical stores are really having trouble competing, especially since the establishment of online giant Amazon. The continued growth of online sales could mean further collapse for our physical outlets.